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Nov 01 2019

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

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Paul Krugman: Did Warren Pass the Medicare Test? I Think So

Her plan is serious, even if it probably won’t happen.

Last week I worried that Elizabeth Warren had painted herself into a corner by endorsing the Sanders Medicare-for-all plan. It was becoming obvious that she couldn’t stay vague about the details, especially how to pay for it; and some studies, even by center-left think tanks, suggested that any plan along these lines would require large tax hikes on the middle class. So what would she come up with?

Well, the Warren plan is now out. And I’d say that she passed the test. Experts will argue for months whether she’s being too optimistic — whether her cost estimates are too low and her revenue estimates too high, whether we can really do this without middle-class tax hikes. You might say that time will tell, but it probably won’t: Even if Warren becomes president, and Dems take the Senate too, it’s very unlikely that Medicare for all will happen any time soon.

Catherine Rampell: The GOP tax cut failed. Their response? Let’s do it again!

Faced with a slowing economy and waves of factory closures and farming bankruptcies, President Trump and Republican lawmakers are finally going back to the drawing board.

So far, this brain trust has come up with . . . the exact same failed policy formula that got us these results in the first place. [..]

The GOP response to lackluster economic growth does seem to be changing, though. Apparently, Republicans now realize they need to show they’re doing something, anything, to shore up the economy going into the 2020 election.

And what have they settled on? Why, more tax cuts.

The White House is working with Republican lawmakers to develop “tax cuts 2.0,” as Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) told my Post colleagues. Even if such a policy couldn’t get through the Democratic House, Republicans think the idea will give voters reason to support the party come election time. It’s a peculiar strategy not just for economic reasons, but political ones, as well: Tax cuts 1.0 have had underwater approval ratings virtually every day since they were first proposed in 2017.

But hey, when all you have is a hammer, why not just bash yourself in the head?

Eugene Robinson: The facts are only going to get worse for Trump

Republicans said they wanted process, so now they have it. The question is whether President Trump’s defenders are willing, finally, to address the substance of the allegations against him.

Thursday’s historic vote by the House set out procedures for the inquiry into Trump’s conduct that give the president every opportunity to defend himself. Before and after the vote, GOP leaders complained that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was running a “Soviet-style” impeachment process, which must be one of the dumbest things ever said on the House floor. The old Soviet Union didn’t do impeachments, with accusation by one legislative chamber, judgment by the other, the nation’s highest judicial officer presiding and the ultimate sanction being removal from office. It did purges, followed by a one-way trip to the gulag.

It sounded as though Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and his colleagues were grasping at the wispiest of straws, and they were. Odds are that they will continue to do so as long as they can. Meanwhile, however, the process they clamored for will roll on and gather momentum, with or without them.

Amanda Marcotte: Be careful what you wish for, Republicans: Now impeachment starts for real

Republicans demanded a more public impeachment process. Well, here it comes — and they’re not gonna like it

Halloween is a fitting day for a spooky morality fable, in the spirit of “The Monkey’s Paw,” about being careful about what you wish for. Republicans have cast about desperately for any talking point they can use disparage the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump, no matter how lame or transparently disingenuous. They’ve spent the past week or so feigning outrage over the closed-door testimony into Trump’s Ukrainian extortion scheme. Even though Republicans knew that there would come a time when the hearings became public, they fanned out on cable news — and even crashed a hearing room last week — making wild accusations about a lack of transparency, clawing at any pathetic straw they could use to spin a narrative about supposed Democratic malfeasance.

Well, now they’re getting what they claim they wanted: The House of Representatives voted Thursday to pass a formal resolution on the impeachment inquiry, signaling the new phase in which hearings will begin to go public. (There will probably be a few more closed-door depositions, but public hearings are expected to start right after Veteran’s Day.) As with the wishes granted by the monkey’s paw, this is what Republicans swore up and down they wanted — and what they will very likely be sorry to have received.

Dahlia Lithwick: Why I Haven’t Gone Back to SCOTUS Since Kavanaugh

Some things are worth not getting over.

It’s been just over a year since I sat in the hearing room and watched the final act of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing. I listened from the back as Christine Blasey Ford and then-Judge Kavanaugh each faced the Senate Judiciary Committee to tell irreconcilable versions of what happened in the summer of 1982. The morning was spent as I’d anticipated: all of us—the press corps, the country—listening, some clearly in agony, to Ford’s account. And then Kavanaugh came in and started screaming. The reporters at the tables around me took him in with blank shock, mindlessly typing the words he was yelling.

The enduring memory, a year later, is that my 15-year-old son texted—he was watching it in school—to ask if I was “perfectly safe” in the Senate chamber. He was afraid for the judge’s mental health and my physical health. I had to patiently explain that I was in no physical danger of any kind, that there were dozens of people in the room, and that I was at the very back, with the phalanx of reporters. My son’s visceral fears don’t really matter in one sense, beyond the fact that I was forced to explain to him that the man shouting about conspiracies and pledging revenge on his detractors would sit on the court for many decades; and in that one sense, none of us, as women, were ever going to be perfectly safe again.

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